A cross-community effort to provide support and solidarity to Ukrainian refugees moving to the Blackwater region of North Cork on a medium to long-term basis is being launched in Fermoy.
The Blackwater Ukrainian Solidarity Group will hold a public meeting in the Youth Centre in Fermoy this Wednesday evening, March 30th at 7.30pm and all those interested in being involved are asked to attend.
They have also asked for those who have already welcomed Ukrainians into their homes or have pledged to take in people over the coming weeks and months to contact them at BlackwaterUkraine2022@gmail.com.
Graham Clifford who is launching the group, told The Avondhu: “We are trying to gauge the numbers of Ukrainian people who are likely to need support in the coming months in this area and also the number of households locally who are opening their doors.
“At the moment everything is somewhat anecdotal, so that’s why we’re asking people to contact us to tell us where in the area they live and how many people they have pledged to help in their homes. It’s so important that we develop a local network to support those hosting Ukrainians coming to the area also.”
LOOKING FOR PREMISES TO PROVIDE ‘A SAFE SPACE’
One of the group’s main aims is to establish a hub in the town where Ukrainians can come for information and assistance, as well as a place to sit and be together.
The group is now asking property owners in the town to contact them if they are in a position to offer premises for the Blackwater Ukrainian Solidarity hub in Fermoy. This would need to be based in or near Fermoy town centre and have enough space to include an office counter/area, a space for people to sit and mingle and also toilet facilities.
“Our hope is to find the right premises for the hub and then discuss with the property owner how we can proceed. This hub would cater for people from across the Blackwater region and, we hope, be a model which other towns and regions could adopt,” said Mr Clifford, also the founder of the Sanctuary Runners, Translate Ireland and the Fermoy International Choir.
Already the Blackwater Ukrainian Solidarity Group has received messages of support from different clubs, businesses, schools and people across the region.
Over the coming weeks Graham Clifford will provide an update on the development of this group every week in The Avondhu, on the breakthroughs it achieves, the challenges it faces and the importance of its work.
To contact the group simply e-mail: BlackwaterUkraine2022@gmail.com